Automation Anywhere launched their Bot Store a year ago, with all the bots being free. Now they are looking to expand both the number and the capabilities of the available bots, by allowing them to be sold.
NEW YORK CITY – At their Imagine event here on Tuesday, Robotic Process Automation [RPA] vendor Automation Anywhere announced the enhancement of partner opportunities by adding the ability of partners to monetize bots that they place in the company’s Bot Store.
“We want to make monetization as easy as possible for our systems integrator and independent software vendor [ISV] partners who place bots that they build in our Bot Store,” said Prince Kohli, Automation Anywhere’s CTO.
The Bot Store, an online marketplace for preconfigured downloadable RPA bots, was launched a year ago, and today it contains over 500 bots. The Tuesday announcement was more to indicate to the company’s partners the intent to open it up for direct monetization opportunities than it was to make a customer announcement. The idea is that once a critical mass of these newer bots appear in the store for sale, Automation Anywhere will formally launch the store for customers at that point.
“We announced this now to engage integrator and ISV partners to build bots of more significant value than currently exist,” said Max Mancini, executive vice president of the Digital Worker Ecosystem at Automation Anywhere. “We expect to formally announce this to customers in the early summer. What we have announced here is focused on partners.”
Mancini’s unusual job title involves building out an environment where developers, customers partners and Automation Anywhere’s sales force all work together to solve customer problems and create value.
“The idea is to enable developers to build bots for customers, to help customers discover them, and then make sure that the sales channel understands that value,” Mancini said.
While Mancini joined the company after the Bot Store was launched, even though all the bots in the original store were free, he believes that the intention was always to monetize it.
“That was my job when I was brought in last summer, to monetize it, so I believe that this was always the intention,” he said.
While the intent is to make this a B2B store along the lines of the Salesforce App Store, Mancini said that the novelty of a bot store and the whole idea of partners renting out digital workers is new enough that they will be making changes on the fly once the monetized store is opened.
“We will definitely be doing some experimenting,” he said. “You can’t find examples of this anywhere else. Partners estimate that these digital workers will cost between $5000 and $12,000 a year, and we will take measures to prime the pump for that.”
A key part of the Bot Store will be providing IP protection, something that the integrators and developers demand in order to put bots in the store.
“When the initial Bot Store opened, some of the integrators wouldn’t make the bots automatically available to all customers, and when we said that was a requirement, they took their bots out,” Mancini said. “That’s understandable. They want to be able to continue to charge for the bots that they make available, and not have someone turn it into a one-time deal by being able to make their own copies of the bot. So we will put limitations on how customers are able to use these in order to protect the partners.”
Bots to automate HR and Finance processes – which are in every company – are likely to be the first monetized ones to appear, Mancini indicated.
Automation Anywhere has seen its own growth take off in the last year, and believes that the already-strong RPA market is on the brink of further acceleration. As a result, the company has broadened out its routes to market for their partners, who account for a majority of their sales. The newly-monetized Bot Store is one element of this. So was the launch last month at their Imagine London event of their free Community Edition, which is also designed to broaden out use by putting the software in the hands of more people.
“The Community Edition makes our whole platform downloadable for developers, students and small businesses under 500 employees,” said Automation Anywhere CEO Mihir Shukla. “More than 1200 downloads have been done since we made it available on March 4.” The company is also encouraging users to pursue training programs and certifications from Automation Anywhere University, and obtain support from A-People, Automation Anywhere’s community portal.
Last month, the company also entered into another major initiative to expand their presence with their first-ever distribution deal in North America. This partnership, with Tech Data, will make the Automation Anywhere Enterprise platform available to resellers in both the U.S. and Canada.